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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Book Review

Harry Potter Cursed Child

The wait is over. The time is finally now upon us muggles to don our cloaks, ready our wands, hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and embark on the next magical adventure in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We love Harry Potter books here at Book People, and so we decided we should put together a review (a spoiler-free review!!!) of the exciting new chapter of the best-loved series.

The first Harry Potter story since 2007’s amazing, heart-breaking, thrilling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes readers by the hand and dives straight back into the Wizarding World we all know and love, 19 years later. While not a novel (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the script for the West End stage play written by Jack Thorne), the book acts in a way like the eighth part of the Harry Potter series but with cross-medium appeal, enabling both fans of the films or books (or both!) to join in the magic and enjoy it with equal awe and wonder.

harry-potter-deathly-hallows

For the first few pages it really would have been useful to have had some kind of ‘get your head around anything’ potion from Professor Slughorn – if you’re a fan of the books (like we are), the script formatting really does take a few pages to get used to. That being said, once you’ve gone through a few pages and taken in some of Thorne’s hypnotically poetic stage directions, you really do feel like you’re zipping through pages of Rowling’s story-led prose.

While this review is spoiler-free, we will have to go over some of the plot points a little. If you don’t want to know anything regarding the plot to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, skip this section and scroll down to the ‘it’s safe, you can look now!’ section below…

The story begins right where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows epilogue left off – with Harry and Ginny saying goodbye to their son Albus at Platform 9 ¾. Albus soon meets the son of his father’s old school foe Draco Malfoy, Scorpius, and the pair strike up a friendship. This friendship, forged in part by the pair wanting to escape the shadow of their famous parents, is played out against the backdrop of magic and mystery we have all come to love – with a refreshing twist of time travel thrown in for good measure.

Harry Potter’s son, Albus, wants to right one of Harry’s failures by going back in time to save Cedric Diggory from being murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort, played out in the fourth Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But in doing so, Albus and Scorpius trigger a sequence of calamitous alternate realities which puts the lives of everyone they know and love in jeopardy.

hogwarts school

It’s safe, you can look now!

Right, back to reviewing the book – we won’t discuss the plot at all now, promise!!!

If you’re not familiar with the original books, or at least the characters from the Harry Potter films, you might struggle reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Though, if you haven’t read them, you can catch up by binge reading through the Complete Harry Potter Collection and save £30 off RRP. There are no recaps at all, so we definitely recommend you read all the stories before you embark on the Boy Who Lived’s next adventure.

If you are familiar with the Harry Potter stories already, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a delightful combination of witty dialogue and pacy storytelling which really feels as though it’s not only following on from but resurrecting J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories.

If you haven’t seen the show, the first thing we’ll say is that you really, REALLY should. The most successful thing about it, apart from bringing the Harry Potter stories to the stage, is the spellbinding stage effects. And seeing these effects in the flesh will better prepare readers for envisioning how the spells looks and what transforming objects look like: stage directions do not a novel make. Though, like we said, Jack Thorne’s stage directions are no ordinary stage directions…

While it might not satisfy all fans (the time travel element in particular is a huge departure from the mythology of the original Harry Potter books), the climax of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is as touching, brutal and crushing, yet all the while thoroughly moving and ultimately tender as J.K. Rowling’s original Harry Potter novels. We definitely recommend reading it; there is no magic like the magic of Harry Potter!

Harry Potter review


Oscars 2016: Academy Award-nominated films based on books

The nominations are in, and this year, like every year, the 2016 Oscars ceremony will be abuzz with award chatter: winners, losers, snubs and controversies. And, like every year, the Academy will have selected a shortlist of Oscar nominees based in the realm of books. So, to save you the hard work of trawling the internet to find out for yourself, we have collected the complete list of Oscar 2016 nominees inspired by books. Take a look…

oscar-films-based-on-books

The Big Short
The Big Short BookWith an all-star cast including the likes of Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell, The Big Short is sure to be a hit in the cinemas if not on the night of the Oscars ceremony. Based on Michael Lewis’s 2010 non-fiction work of the same name, The Big Short tells the story of four men who foresaw the collapse of the global economy and bet against the banks who had no idea it was coming. But their gamble leads the characters into the dark underbelly of modern banking, media and politics.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing

The Martian
The Martian BookThe buzz surrounding Andy Weir’s The Martian was pretty difficult to avoid. The film, directed by none other than Ridley Scott, stays true to the 2011 novel and follows Matt Damon as Astronaut Mark Watney, as he battles to survive on Mars after being left behind by his crewmates. Realising that his only chance of rescue is a crew scheduled to arrive on Mars in four years, Watney is forced to improvise with his provisions to ensure his survival. Meanwhile, on Earth, teams from NASA and the CNSA work together to get to Watney before his time runs out.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing

Room
Room BookMany will find the subject matter of Emma Donoghue’s Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Room difficult to digest. Based very closely on two similar cases in Austria – those of Natascha Kampusch and Elisabeth Fritzl – Room tells the tragic story of five-year-old Jack and his Ma, who are kept as prisoners in a single-room outbuilding by their captor Old Nick. What Jack doesn’t know is that the things he sees on the TV are real, and that Jack is the product of Old Nick’s rape of Ma. Starring Brie Larson as Ma and introducing Jacob Tremblay as Jack, Room is both entirely heart-breaking and thoroughly uplifting in equal measure.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Adapted Screenplay

The Revenant
The Revenant BookMany will not have heard of Michael Punke’s 2002 non-fiction novel The Revenant, which tells the story of American frontiersman Hugh Glass. Left for dead by his comrades after being brutally attacked by a bear, Glass is forced to fix his wounds – including setting his own broken bones and tending to deep lacerations – and begins a 200-mile journey to take revenge on those who left him to die. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson, and directed by Oscar-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant is a gripping tale of survival and vengeance.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design

Brooklyn
Brooklyn BookAdapted from Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel of the same name by none other than the wonderful Nick Hornby, Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis Lacey, a young woman who is unable to find work in 1950s Ireland and emigrates to New York. While there she falls in love and marries, but when her sister dies back in Ireland, she returns to Ireland and meets an old flame… Starring a hugely talented cast including Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters, Brooklyn is a story about the past catching up with you… wherever you are.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Adapted Screenplay

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared BookAllan Karlsson is about to celebrate his hundredth birthday with a party his family have organised for him. But he doesn’t want a party, and he doesn’t want to celebrate. Alert despite his age, Allan climbs out of the window in just his slippers and makes his way to the bus station to travel as far as the money in his pocket will allow. When at the bus station he steals another passenger’s suitcase, which is filled with drug money, and Allan finds himself pursued by both the police and drug dealers.

Nominated for: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey BookWe’re sure that everyone on the planet has at least heard of E.L. James’s 2011 erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey, and many are probably more than a little acquainted with the book’s content. College senior Ana attends a newspaper interview with wealthy entrepreneur Christian Grey. Finding him attractive and intimidating, the two begin a sexual relationship. The film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, and is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Nominated for: Best Music (Original Song)

Spectre
Spectre BookOriginally stylised in Ian Flemming’s 1961 James Bond novel Thunderball, Spectre marks the first time that the organisation have appeared in a James Bond film since 1971’s Diamonds are Forever, starring Sean Connery. Though not really based on a book at all, but starring a character and themes that have been well represented in literature, Spectre reintroduces audiences to a number of key James Bond characters, including M, Q and Eve Moneypenny. Spectre stars Daniel Craig in his fourth outing as agent 007, and is directed by Sam Mendes.

Nominated for: Best Music (Original Song)

The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl BookA fictionalized account of one of the first identifiable people to undergo sex reassignment surgery in the 1930s, David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel The Danish Girl tells the true story of Lili Elbe and the struggles she went through to transition from a man to a woman during the early 20th century. Starring last year’s Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Testament of Youth actress Alicia Vikander, this year’s film has already won numerous awards, particularly for Vikander’s turn as portrait artist Gerda Wegener.

Nominated for: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design

Carol
Carol BookBased on Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley author Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, Carol chronicles the story of a young aspiring photographer and her romantic relationship with an older woman going through a difficult divorce after a chance encounter with each other in a shop – and details the difficulties of living as a homosexual in the 1950s. The film stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, and Kyle Chandler.

Nominated for: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music (Original Score), Best Adapted Screenplay

Cinderella
We’re sure that no one on the planet would require an introduction to this classic fairy tale, brought to life once again by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on Charles Perrault’s eponymous folk tale and borrowing elements from the 1950 animated picture, Cinderella introduces us once again to a girl who is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters, who has a wish granted by her fairy godmother to attend the ball – where she meets a handsome prince. The film stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, and Helena Bonham Carter.

Nominated for: Best Costume Design


Best holiday reads 2015: our top 10 summer reads

 

Summer holiday season has finally arrived and what better way to spend your well-deserved downtime than kicking back with one of this year’s best holiday reads! Our pick of the 10 best summer reads has all your holiday books covered. From the gripping Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – recently adapted into a major motion picture – to the romantic Nora Roberts collection, including titles like Under Summer Skies and Love by Design, our list of top summer reads of the moment has something for every reader, whether you plan to read on a tropical beach or at home in the garden.

Summer Reads 2015


The Book People Week of Wonder: The best under-sea books

As our offer-filled Week of Wonder is sea themed this time around, we thought this would be a ‘splashing’ time to make a list of the best books about life under the sea. From tales about fish to submarine missions and more, books about what happens beneath the tide are often classics and can sometimes be overlooked by readers, preferring to read about far-off planets, solar systems and galaxies. But don’t be put off by an under-sea book… there are some classics!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
A mission to rid the seas of a monstrous creature becomes a terrifying nightmare when Professor Arronax, Conseil and Ned Land are thrown overboard. A huge marine animal that haunts the water is no living beast, but a spectacular man-made vessel, and the three men find themselves the helpless prisoners of Captain Nemo… 20000 Leagues Under the Sea A true classic, Jules Verne is one of the finest fiction writers of the last 200 years and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is, without doubt, one of his finest works.

Harry Hammer
Shark Point is a beautiful rural reef community where different species of fish can live in harmony. Harry Hammer, a young hammerhead shark, would give his right fin to be as cool, fast or terrifying as a tiger, blue or great white shark, and determined to prove his worth, he dives in to some daring adventures, where his unique hammerhead abilities and loyal school of friends keep him out of trouble. Harry Hammer series | The Book People A delight for younger readers, especially those who enjoy Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series, the books are packed with hilarious black-and-white illustrations that bring the stories to life.

The Abyss
Based on the 1989 film by Titanic director James Cameron, The Abyss is the story of the USS Montana, a submarine that sinks after an encounter with an unidentified object. As Soviet ships and submarines head toward the area to salvage the sub, and with a hurricane moving in, the Americans decide that the quickest way to mount a rescue is to insert a SEAL team onto an underwater oil-drilling platform, which will serve as their base. As the SEALs and the platform crew attempt to discover the cause of the Montana‍ ’​s failure, they spot strange creatures they cannot identify and discover that the creatures have intelligence… The Abyss | The Book Peole If you liked the film, this book is a must-read as it gives a much greater ‘depth’ to the characters, going as far to give them a backstory, which only adds to the enjoyment.

Sphere
Written by bestselling author Michael Crichton, the man who brought us Jurassic Park and Prey amongst other wonderful science fiction books, Sphere is a psychological thriller that follows Norman Johnson, a psychologist who joins a team of scientists assembled by the government to examine an enormous spacecraft discovered on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The depth of coral covering the craft suggests that it has been lying there for over 300 years and so could only be of alien origin…  Sphere | The Book People Quite similar to The Abyss but with an enemy a lot closer to home, Sphere is a great read and keeps you guessing until the very last page.

Sea Quest 
If you have a child who loves Beast Quest, Adam Blade’s Sea Quest is definitely worth a look! With a host of under-sea robo-beasts to defeat, ocean wars to prevent and other forces of evil threatening the planet Nemos, each book stars a new terrifying (but not too terrifying!) foe for hero Max and his friends to defeat – and as the series continues they get bigger, ‘badder’ and scarier. Sea Quest | The Book People Ideal for reluctant readers, Sea Quest takes the friendly format of Beast Quest under the sea for an action-packed adventure extravaganza! Really, really good fun!


Jurassic Park book vs movie: what’s different in the film?

Jurassic Park | The Book People

With the cinema release of Jurassic World just around the corner, we thought that this would be a great time to revisit the book that inspired it all, Michael Crichton’s worldwide bestseller Jurassic Park.

As wonderful as Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Jurassic Park novel was, there were a number of things that the film missed out and/or dramatically changed, things that people who have only ever seen the Jurassic Park films will have no idea about. So, grab your raptor claw and come with us on a journey through the differences between the book and movie versions of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton…

The Compys from The Lost World are more important than you think…
Do you remember those chicken-like fellows from the Jurassic Park film’s sequel, The Lost World? Remember? They had more than a playful nibble on a little girl at the beginning of the film and make a real mess of the guy from Prison Break when he decides to tase one in the face… Well, the Compys (or Compsognathus if you’re that way inclined) play a huge part in the Jurassic Park book but aren’t seen in the film at all. They do, however, have quite an impact in the Jurassic Park on-screen sequel…

Jurassic Park: The Lost World | Compys

John Hammond isn’t the nice guy, he’s actually a real piece of work
You can see him in your mind’s eye right now can’t you: his Santa-esque beard; his soft, white shirt and trousers combo; his amber-topped walking stick; his playful, ageless smile. Well, John Hammond is not quite the big softy he is in the film in Crichton’s Jurassic Park book. In the film he comes across as a billionaire CEO turned philanthropist, but in the book he is more like a cold, heartless, ruthless Walt Disney. Despite all this, though, Richard Attenborough’s poor attempt at a Scottish accent is much more hate-worthy than the actions of his literary counterpart.

Jurassic Park | John Hammond | The Book People

Tim and Lex are different ages – and different characters
If you haven’t read Michael Crichton’s bestseller, you probably won’t know that Tim and Lex are completely different to what actors Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards portrayed in the film. Lex is a bit more of an outgoing, sporty type and is aged just seven or eight in the Jurassic Park book; and Tim is about 11 years old, wears glasses and is more of hacker-type intellectual than a bookworm. While we’re all for sticking to the original material of the book, we can’t help but love a bookworm!

Lex, Tim | Jurassic Park | The Book People

Remember Donald Gennaro? He isn’t nearly as cowardly
In the Jurassic Park movie, Donald Gennaro meets a very unfortunate and cowardly end: chomped by a T. rex as he hides in the beach shack-themed outdoor lavatory (we can’t be the only ones who think he deserved it a little?). Well, in the book Gennaro is a very different character indeed. Actually, he’s a bit of a hero in the book: he takes on Raptors using nerve gas!!! Such actions can only be admired.

Donald Gennaro | Jurassic Park | The Book People

Dennis Nedry isn’t fully to blame for what happened at Jurassic Park
One thing you should probably know about the Jurassic Park book is that there is a bit more to the corporate espionage than in the 1993 film. In the book, Dennis Nedry is blackmailed by Jurassic Park owner John Hammond into making changes to the security system without payment. This then causes Nedry to make a deal with Biosyn (Jurassic Park’s parent company InGen’s main rival) employee Dodgson to steal the dinosaur embryos. The rest, as they say, is history…

Dennis Nedry | Jurassic Park | The Book People

The T. rex river escape
By far the most impressive scene in Jurassic Park is that which sees Lex and Tim battle for their lives as the T. rex destroys their car, eats Gennaro and gives Ian Malcolm a good going over. However, the book has more than just that: how does escaping on a raft down a jungle river with the Tyrannosaurus in chase sound?! Completely omitted from both Jurassic Park and The Lost World, we can only imagine how awesome this scene would have looked.

T. rex | Jurassic Park | The Book People

Alan Grant doesn’t hate kids
Though it would be hard to believe if you’ve only ever seen Jurassic Park and never read the book, Alan Grant (played by Sam Neill in Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III) doesn’t actually hate kids at all. In fact, he actually has a strong affinity to children and especially those who show an interest in dinosaurs. This is a stark contrast to how the character was portrayed in the film; remember the Raptor claw scene at the start of Jurassic Park, and the scene where he was trying to escape Tim’s relentless questions as they were getting into the Explorers (they are the vehicles in the image above for those who aren’t clued up on their Jurassic Park vehicle terminology)?

Alan Grant | Jurassic Park | The Book People

Ian Malcolm isn’t just the comic relief
In Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum’s character Ian Malcolm is a bit or a wise-cracking, rockstar mathematician with a quick quip for each and every deadly situation. In the book, however, Malcolm is a little less of a comedy rockstar and a little more of a insightful, genius mathematician – and he knew what was happening at Jurassic Park before he got there, unlike in the film! Read the book and you’ll also find a lot more detail on Chaos Theory, one of the running themes of the movie.

Ian Malcolm | Jurassic Park | The Book People

The ending of the book isn’t all sunsets!
Don’t worry, we won’t be putting in any spoilers here. All we will say is that when you read the ending of the Jurassic Park novel, don’t expect to hear the perfectly pitched John Williams score in your mind as a helicopter takes the characters to their much-earned safety. While this is the perfect ending to the film, the book’s ending is much less friendly…

Helicopter sunset ending | Jurassic Park | The Book People

There you have it! So, when you’re watching Jurassic World when it’s released on 11 June, remember that there is a lot more to the goings-on on Isla Nublar than the film would have you believe. To read the book for yourself, visit theBookPeople.co.uk or click on the image below… Clever girl!

Jurassic Park | The Book People


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